A Ride With… Graeme Obree

The legendary world champ and hour record man, who has overcome his own demons with the help of his love for the bike, takes us on an excursion into mindful cycling...



We tend to over complicate things in life these days. I’m often telling folk to ‘do it cos you love it’. I sign books with that too. When there’s no pleasure in your cycling you need to take stock of why you’re doing it. I get the greatest enjoyment in riding alone, lest it disturbs the pace and rhythm. I moved to where I live now, in Ayrshire, specifically because of the wonderful cycling I have here; the relative peace of the roads and the challenges they hold too.


I’m thankful for where I get to ride and I need to get that feeling that cycling gives the muscles. Cycling saved my life and I know that whenever I want to feel better I get my kit on and go out on the bike. It’s rare that I go for a ride and don’t come back feeling great. I ride for the burn, for going to the edge of my ability and for feeling totally in the moment.


I’ve found in the past that it pays to get to know positive, upbeat cyclists. Chatting to them before and after rides rubs off and helps overcome any negativity you may have about your own cycling.


I’ve got some great climbs to ride close by, with my favourite one being east up to the highest point, around 1000ft, and looks over the Mull of Kintyre with this amazing panorama. Sometimes when it’s raining and I just want to go for a ride I go for the ‘will I, won’t I decision’ policy. It’s simple, I go for a ride then decide if I should have only when I get back!


Many of us focus too much on future events and goals. It’s great to have them but if you’re devoting a lot of time, money and energy to your cycling you really should remember to enjoy it in the moment and let your passion for it enhance your life here and now.

The Obree Way: A Training Manual For Cyclists (revised & updated) is published by Bloomsbury and priced at £17.99

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